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Janet Jackson launches three-date stint at Gibson Amphitheatre with no frills, hits-heavy set


Janet Jackson hadn’t surfaced on-stage and the house lights had yet to fall over the Gibson Amphitheatre on Thursday night when pandemonium erupted in the audience.

Flanked by a bevy of bodyguards, Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and older brothers Jermaine and Randy strolled to their seats as a cheering audience set off a continuous stream of flashes from cameras and cellphones and started to swarm the famous family. 

A closeby row began chanting “Michael! Michael! Michael!” with as many fans dressed in T-shirts emblazoned with the family’s departed king as they were in Janet branded tops. 

For a family that’s had every tragedy and triumph documented in front of the public eye, it wasn’t surprising that family members would show up to support Janet on the first of three sold-out dates in Los Angeles on her "Number Ones: Up Close and Personal Tour"  –- but the sighting (just one of a long string of celebs who dotted the audience, including cast members from her last films, “For Colored Girls” and “Why Did I Get Married,” and producer Babyface) was too much for fans as one girl within earshot squealed, “I can’t believe they are seating with us.”

With security forced to intervene and direct gawkers to their seats, Jackson emerged onstage in a white tank, jeans and military boots –- but not before playing two of her hits in tribute to the audience (fans from each city on the stint had the opportunity to vote on the selections). 

While today’s pop landscape of over-the-top divas like Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Britney Spears have become known for glitzy productions, it took less than a second to realize Jackson hadn’t set out to deliver a flashy spectacle. 

Jackson, who was touring as a treat to her fans with material exclusively chosen from her double-disc “Number Ones” compilation (she hasn’t released an album in more than three years), ditched the glossy arena pomp – she has plenty of record-breaking treks under her belt –- for the more intimate Gibson Amphitheatre. 

The 44-year-old provided a no-frills show that was light on costume changes (only three), void of flashy pyrotechnics and eye-popping scenery –- all the things associated with the Jackson brand. The show was, however, heavy on hits.

She placed the focus of her set squarely on showcasing her voice -– it should be noted that she sang live for the nearly two-hour show, a rarity in today’s pop music -- and the legendary complex footwork that marked her and brother Michael as pop royalty. 

From smashes such as “Control,” “Scream,” “Escapade,” “All For You” and “Together Again” to more obscure hits "The Best Things in Life Are Free” and “Diamonds,” Jackson managed to offer nearly 30 of her 35 No. 1 singles to an audience who remained seated only during three video montages, one of which featured a reel of some of her acting roles. 

Janet In her first tour since her brother Michael’s 2009 death, MJ’s presence was felt, whether it was adding moves he perfected or paying tribute to him in pictures during “Together Again” –- where she became emotional and stopped singing, instead extending her hands up above as the crowd sang the words and watched a slide show of childhood pictures of the two. (Her family left prior to the tribute.)    

Fans have been clamoring for Jackson to return to the stage after her brief 2008 "Rock Witchu Tour" was marred with hiccups including cancellations.

After tickets to Thursday’s show sold out in less than 10 minutes when they went on sale in January, Jackson added an additional performance for Friday -- which quickly sold out, as well. Jackson and Live Nation then added another show set for Saturday.

The 35-city tour (one for each of her 35 No. 1 hits) has also sold out multiple nights in New York, Toronto, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Atlantic City, N.J.,  as well as single nights in Atlanta and Santa Barbara. 

For the trek, Jackson called on her fans to vote for the cities that would constitute the itinerary, and due to the overwhelming tickets sales -– a welcome problem for a veteran act like Jackson –- the tour was recently extended to include additional cities. 

The next North American leg of the tour is being planned for the fall, after Jackson's upcoming run of spring and summer dates in Europe.

Set list from night one of Los Angeles stint:

The Pleasure Principle / Control / What Have You Done for Me Lately? / Feedback / You Want This / Alright  / Miss You Much / Nasty /  Nothing / Come Back to Me / Let’s Wait Awhile  / Again / Escapade / Love Will Never Do (Without You) / When I Think of You / That’s the Way Love Goes / I Get So Lonely / Black Cat  / If  / Scream / Rhythm Nation

Encore: Diamonds  / The Best Things in Life Are Free / Throb / Make Me / Together Again


Janet Jackson adds third Gibson Amphitheatre performance

Janet Jackson sells out tour in less than 10 minutes

Janet Jackson's 'Number Ones, Up Close and Personal Tour' to visit intimate venues

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

 Photo: Janet Jackson performs in Hong Kong on Feb. 14. Credit: Janet-Love.com

Comments () | Archives (20)

Ummm, what concert were you at? She did not wear that outfit. The rest of the information was spot on but the picture was not from the LA show.

An 8:15 showtime and she goes on after 9:30 with NO opening act!? It was annoying, so was the viewing of two full music videos just before she took the stage. Complete with the smooth-jazz they were playing, I was close to poking my eyes out! Did I eventually havefun? Yes. She gave nothing but the hits. I wish there were longer versions of somesongs but what can you do... Her video clip segment was a missed opportunity to make a fun, comical, touching and entertaining sizzle reel but instead was 90 second clips of two TV acting spots and two film roles. While her vault of footage can't rival Cher's, Janet could take a note from her on how to create a great video reel.

Janet was fantastic last night! And damn, she looks incredible. I really enjoyed the scaled down approach. Janet had that place rockin'.

Janet's performance last night was incredible. As noted, she did not need any of the frills of an overproduced show, but instead dazzled the audience with her live singing, dance moves and touching tribute to her brother Michael. Definitely a great show, but I only wish I purchased tickets for another day so I could see her light up the stage again. Thanks for the great music Janet.

So what if we all had to wait til 9:30 (This ain't a meeting at work_calm down) with no opening act..it's JANET JACKSON!!! Worth the wait and trust me she don't need an opening act. As for the "video reel" I am glad it was only 90 second clips cause that gave us another song for her to sing and I thought it was all around very entertaining. I ain't there to judge on segment videos from other iconic divas, I am there to see Janet..period. You are right B, she was not dressed in that outfit in this article. She looked amazing in ALL 3 outfits!! She hit every note on each song and performed the dances perfectly. This is a concert I will never forget.

I went to the show last night and it was so wonderful to hear a pop icon play almost every hit they have ever done. It didn't need costume changes, the voice and the moves is what we all come for!
How come LA Times could not produce a picture from the LA show? A little disappointing, but I love that the set list was included in the article.

Janet was rockin the Gibson last night! I have attended Rhythm Nation, Janet, All For You and Rock Withcu Tours and this was by far a phenomenal performance. I enjoyed the simplicity of the show as well as the tribute to Michael. I wish I could have seen again the chair scene from "Miss You Much" and I wish she would have done the dance routine in "Scream" with Michael in the background like she did at the MTV AWARDS 2009. Like always I danced the night away and had an enjoyable evening!!!! Definitely A Night To Remember!

It was 9:14 when it started and it ended a 11:10 . Headliners at ANY concert typically go on between 9:00 - 9:30pm. I've been to over 400 concerts/gigs in my 47 years. Nothing has change in regards to that. People in Los Angeles come late to everything. If the tickets said 9pm then people would show up at 10pm. Always a good move to get people in ON TIME. Janet isn't the first to do this and won't be the last.

I was forunate enough to witness Janet in concert on March 19th at Radio City Music Hall in New York, and then again a week later in Atlantic City, NJ! Both shows were awesome! I've never experienced any show like Janet's, and I've had my share of plenty of concerts since the mid-80s. Never before have I seen Janet live, and I must say that she is totally amazing! She doesn't need fany props, etc...Janet was all that, and I do believe that she can out dance anyone in the game today! In fact, she's got so many big hits...she stands in a league of her own now! These female entertainers don't even compare to Janet; just think, all that and she's only 44 years old! Go Janet!

I saw her Thursday night and she was awesome. It was my first time seeing a live Janet show although I have seen two Jackson 5 shows and Michael's Bad tour. She continues their high level of professionalism and excitement, Miss Jackson if you please. See it if you can, second only to Michael. The family's arrival and the many celebrities in the audience just made her performance even more special.

9:20 and she stop hasn't started. Universal is raking in the cash on food and drinks. What a scam to say the show starts at 8:15. I don't care who it is, don't take advantage of the audience.

Wait... So she is coming back to north america in the fall omg so I get to see her again yes. I knew.was going to have the change to see her again. I hope she comes back go texas

I saw her april 2. That body is amazing. I never thought me being 19 falling in love with a 44 year old woman shes beautiful... This was my first concert ever and, I had the time of my life. Im still smiling about it and I still cannot believe I saw her live. If she does come back in the fall I got money saved and.waiting just to see her..again and I hope.to get a much closer.seat like front row perhaps.

Janet is a huge star I get that, but I sat in my seat 1 hour waiting for the concert to start. That Sucks!! But I will say this it's been a long time since I've been to a concert where people stood up sang, screamed and danced at their seats pretty much the whole concert the energy was wild. I loved hearing the crowd sing along I think that is so cool. But the wait not cool.

Absolute disappointment! I went to see her show this past Sat 4/16 with high expectations of being JANET and Michael's younger sibling only to wait over ONE HOUR AND A HALF for her 8:15pm posted time to begin. She made no wardrobe changes, seemed out of breath alot of stops, lots of videos and slife show if pictures were pure "fill in materials" for an over priced show which should have had more excitement. She has always be known for elaborate shows, and its was bad.

When did the number of costume changes make or break a concert? Back in the day, if you were an artist you didn't change costumes, you just went on stage and performed. Sweat through all your clothes and dance steps and said goodnight. Now we count the costume changes?

When did headliners start going on stage before 9pm? Some of you act like you've never been to a concert before. Sheeeesh

I was also very dissapointed with this concert. I went to see her on the 16th at the Gibson in LA. I had seen her a few years ago and the show was amazing, just the way Janet shows should be. This one was a huge dissapointment. Like others have said, the ticket said the show was due to start at 8pm, she didnt come on stage until about 9.40pm and it was over by 11.00pm. Although she looked amazing (always does) she had jeans and a tank top on for the entire performance. No costume changes, no lights, no special effects, a couple of dancers every now and again and that was it. I dont even think she was singing live! Glad I had booked the 'cheap' seats at $60 each as I would have been even more dissapointed to have paid out more money than that!

I sat up front in center. Janet was relaxed and amazingly cool! Saturday April 16th Janet rocked the house young and old. I saw people cheering and having a blast. Janet gave a real nice performance.

3 outfit changes? Not on Saturday night. She went back there lots of times, so we thought to change but she came out wearing the same thing. And sad so say, I have seen Janet a few times and this was by far not her best. She came on at 9:40 and it was supposed to start at 8:15 and we were out of there by 11:00. When she was on she was good but she wasn't on for a long time.


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